As follow-up to the LeadingAge Annual Meeting and Expo in Philadelphia, we are sharing content from our presentation about Having Better Visits, the HOPE Program and G-Date. We hope you find these programs meaningful and replicable in your organization.
Making the most of your visit
- Visiting a family member in a nursing home can be very emotional
- Feelings of loss
- Feelings of fear that grandkids will see changes – medical or
behavioral – in the resident
- Feelings of sadness or anger by the resident
- Making conversation can be difficult since the resident is no longer involved in the family’s day to day lives
- The purpose of this program is to create parameters and provide guidance for successful, meaningful visits and to encourage family visits.
- We want to encourage family visits and help make them more comfortable, enjoyable and memorable for families and residents
- Keep in Mind – structure your questions and conversations around positive topics
- Questions that could result in negative feelings include:
- How are you feeling?
- How is the food?
- How are the nurses treating you?
- Instead, ask:
- What are some interesting programs that you have attended?
- Tell me about some friends that you have met here.
- Sports is a universal language that spans generations.
- We developed a New York Yankees exhibit that highlights memorabilia of the team, as well as a press and sniff component so visitors can enjoy the scents of baseball – from popcorn and hotdogs to fresh cut grass and beer!
- This exhibit is a great conversation sparker and can be replicated easily in collaboration with local teams
- Similarly, we have an interactive New York Giants exhibit housed within our rehab gym that features memorabilia and images
- If a resident has young grandchildren, you can be sure they want to be on the move.
- We installed a children’s play area that features soft foam climbing structures for toddlers
- Located within a lounge area, resident, adult children and grandchildren can all spend time together and enjoy this space
- Throughout the Hebrew Home, there are exhibits, works of art and outdoor sculptures that are great conversation starters.
- Visitors can look at these sights with their family members as an opportunity to share their interests in art
- Live pets are an incredible way to bring smiles to faces and put people at ease
- In the main public spaces of the Hebrew Home, we have a huge fish tank filled with exotic fish, a bird cage with adorable birds, and pet therapy dogs that often stroll the common hallways with staff members.
- A visit with the pets is an ideal way to spend quality time together and to reminisce about family pets
- We also welcome families to bring their own pets for visits – with simple guidelines to ensure they are safe and appropriate to be on campus
- The HOPE program began in 1992 for at-risk special education students from the Bronx.
- HOPE is an an acronym for Healthcare Offers Permanent Employment
- The concept is to give Special Education students exposure to the Health Care System by providing vocational training and job readiness
- It is conducted in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education and is the first of its kind in the United States
- HOPE students have one hour of academics each day, which could include:
- Money management
- Current events
- HOPE students learn business skills in Healthcare in eleven different areas of work, including:
- Material Management
- Data Processing
- Food Services
- Religious Services
- The HOPE program also extends to the Foster Grandparents program, an intergenerational initiative where students and Hebrew Home residents interact with one another to form long-term relationships with positive academic outcomes.
- Residents serve as mentors and provide additional socialization while improving reading levels and providing emotional support
- With so much loss as we age, we believe that intimacy and companionship, as long as consensual, should be encouraged and embraced
- In 1995, the Hebrew Home created the first sexual expression policy in long-term care so that consenting residents would have the freedom they are entitled to pursue relationships with other residents
- G-Date is a voluntary resident program managed by the Social Services department
- Social Services team members ask residents if they would like to participate, and if yes, helps them to complete a simple form
- Questions on the form include:
- Are you looking for an exclusive relationship or more causal?
- What is your idea of a romantic evening?
- On a regular basis, the Social Services team gets together and discusses G-Date participants, reviewing likes and dislikes from the form to identify residents with similar interests
- Once residents are matched, they receive a certificate saying they have a G-Date on a specific date/time.
- Dates take place at our River Café.
- The Hebrew Home treats for the G-Date – usually coffee and cookies at the Cafe
- Social Services assists residents by:
- Notifying residents about the G-Date
- Selecting a special outfit for the resident to wear on the G-Date
- Scheduling a beauty salon appointment prior to the G-Date if needed
- Scheduling transport if needed
- Following up after the G-Date to see if there is interest in a second date
- If not interested, the Social Worker will ask resident if he/she would like to meet a different resident on a future date